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Dienstag, 23.10.2018
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With the April 16 deadline for a broadband Internet survey for Steuben County rapidly approaching, county officials urge residents to take a few minutes to answer survey questions online or on paper surveys available through local schools, libraries and municipal halls.

“We cannot stress enough the importance of these surveys,” said county Deputy Manager Mitch Alger. “Especially for people in our rural areas, who are becoming more isolated from services provided by our emergency responders, local governments, health care and senior-related agencies.”

Participation in the joint effort between Steuben and Yates counties, the Broadband Aggregation & Adoption survey will help Steuben access state funds needed to provide services across the county and improve provider competition.

In addition, millions of dollars have been made available in the Federal budget to improve broadband in unserved and underserved areas of the country. The results of this survey will help the rural areas of Steuben County gain access to this funding, Alger said.

“We have vigorously campaigned for the survey and urge all our older residents and their loved ones to participate in the survey” said county OFA Director Patty Baroody. “In some cases, access to broadband may save lives. Strong Internet connections also will prepare all of our residents for future services, such as telemedicine and telehealth.”

One successful senior care program now providing important in-home Internet services is Full Circle America, sponsored by Steuben Senior Services Fund, Inc. The program links seniors with home care providers, family and medical staff and has been credited with preventing unnecessary hospitalizations and saving lives.

Swift in-home Internet access is not only important for seniors — all residents located in remote regions need and can access health care and other services, and can locate important information about other services including those provided by county Public Health.

According to a recent report both the American Hospital Association and the National Rural Health Association called on the Federal Communications Commission to do more to increase broadband availability for rural residents.

A high speed Internet connection in the home is becoming less of a luxury for today’s students and more of a requirement.

“School systems are already relying on electronic methods of distributing class materials and receiving homework, and students without reliable Internet access at home have trouble completing their assignments,” said Meredith Carroll, Marketing Coordinator at ECC Technologies, Inc. – the firm overseeing the survey. “This includes higher education, where it’s nearly impossible to get an associate, bachelor, or graduate degree from an online institution without home Internet access.”

Alger said Internet customers have safeguards to protect their privacy and can decide what elements best suit their needs.

“The Internet is not just a ‘social’ tool, and no one has to be connected that way, if they don’t want to,” Alger said. “We know our school districts strongly support improving Internet services for their students through broadband.”

And our website informs our residents about the wide range of services and opportunities Steuben provides. We want our people to know about all of them. And all it takes is a couple minutes to fill out the survey, on-line or on paper.”

The survey is available at www.steubencony.org/broadband, local libraries and town halls.

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Quelle/Source: The Evening Tribune, 31.03.2018

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